Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

August 16, 2007

Knowledge Versus Debate

Filed under: politics — codesmithy @ 8:44 am

One thing that I’m mildly surprised at is the comparison between the state of knowledge versus the debate that exists either online or via the main-stream media. For example, if you look at “A People’s History of the United States” or “American Theocracy,” one a national bestseller and the other a New York Times bestseller respectively (I don’t know if there is a significant difference), they present views that would lead most people to be relatively distrustful of what the government tells its people about war. I understand Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity have bestsellers also. But, Fox News has a whole network to parade out those pundits and those views are apparent in almost any discussion I come across. Why isn’t there a strong response that moves the debate in the other direction based on the opposite view?

I guess what is particularly mystifying to me, is there must be many people who know a lot about particular issues, assuming people read the books that they buy. And if they didn’t put the book down after the first ten pages, it would be hard for me to believe that they wouldn’t inject some of those views into the debate that is presented in the main stream media.

For a concrete example, who won the Chomsky/Dershowitz debate? I would have to go with Chomsky. I understand if Dershowitz came off as more polished, but did anyone walk away, do what Dershowitz challenged them to do and conclude Dershowitz was right? If you examine content and verifiable statements, Chomsky was correct on a number of points. For example, on U.S. Israeli rejectionism claim, look at the text and vote for U.N. Resolution 44/42 December 6, 1989. As for human rights abuses and Benny Morris, most of the facts check out although, I doubt that Chomsky completely fabricated the paragraph in “Failed States” but more importantly it verifies a larger world view supported by examples of the My Lai Massacre and other examples that are found in almost every war. Go to Amnesty International‘s website, look at articles like this one. Who’s espoused views does the evidence support more?

However, the fundamental reason to believe Chomsky more than Dershowitz is bias. What motivations does Chomsky have to distort? What motivations does Dershowitz have to do the same? What is clear is the U.S. and Israel are on the other side of a vast international consensus on the Palestinian question. Prof. Chomsky does not appear to be living on his own planet as Dershowitz implied with his repeated “Planet Chomsky” remarks, it is more likely that Dershowitz is in an area of the political spectrum that exists strongly in Israel and the United States. The fact that Carter came to similar conclusions only bolsters Chomsky’s case. Another analysis of the debate is here.

So, is the reason that the debate doesn’t move forward because one side is stubborn and repeatedly able to gain access to the forum? Or is it because of the aftermath, people don’t get together and communicate their findings about the topics discussed so the debate was meaningless to begin with. The debate was merely a spectacle, an intellectual boxing match instead of an endeavor to find truth.

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